Straw poll on agenda for Minnesota Republicans meeting

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Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate face an early test in a straw poll Saturday.

GOP delegates plan to gather at the National Sports Center in Blaine for a State Central Committee meeting, where the non-binding straw poll will be a featured attraction.

Five announced candidates for governor have hammered the administration of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and laid out their stances on taxes, jobs and education, MPR News reports. MPR has a look at the candidates: Rob Farnsworth, a special education teacher from Hibbing; businessman Scott Honour; Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson; former talk show host and State Sen. Dave Thompson; and six-term state Rep. Kurt Zellers.

Another familiar name could surface – a write-in effort is under way to add former state Rep. Marty Seifert to the mix.

Like many straw polls, this one does not have a perfect track record; many past winners were not ultimately the party's nominee, MPR notes, but it's a key first test for candidates.

In the U.S. Senate race, six candidates are challenging DFL Sen. Al Franken: business executive Mike McFadden; state Rep. Jim Abeler; St. Louis County Board Chairman Chris Dahlberg; bison farmer Monti Moreno; state Sen. Julianne Ortman; and activist Philip Parrish.

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